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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

Falling in love is complicated. Although it is extraordinary, it can be fleeting; we don’t choose whom we fall for and often we get heartbroken when we least expect it. However, no matter if you are dating right now, taking time for yourself, or just looking for an entertaining night, the experiment of 36 questions to fall in love is a fun place to start.

where did the idea of 36 questions come from?

The concept arose from a psychological study conducted by Arthur Aron, Elaine Aron, and their colleagues in the 1990s and was rocketed to fame due to Mandy Len Catron’s 2015 article in the New York Times, To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This. While the official study may have found that asking 36 questions doesn’t produce love between two strangers, I felt I had to put it to the test. With the help of some volunteers, I was able to see for myself if there is any truth behind the experiment.

My results

To carry out my version of the test, I interviewed 4 sets of people for this article. I found that, typically, you can’t fall in love by asking 36 questions. However, I am by no means suggesting it is a waste of time. Within my interviews, I used two sets of couples, two friends and two people who were effectively strangers to compare results. I found myself at the same conclusion as the original study — that the participants felt significantly closer and more connected to each other, but not in love. Mandy Len Catron’s article resulted in people in all types of relationships doing the 36 questions; so, unlike the original study, I also used couples who are involved and already in love to gauge their reactions. One described that she ‘found answers to questions she would never have thought to ask and only made her love him more’, therefore bringing her closer to her significant other. Another participant, who answered the questions with a boy she described as ‘seeing’, admitted it didn’t make her fall in love but by answering the questions she found a new level of intimacy with him.

What is the value of this test?

The value lies in the intimacy that the questions build. Whilst two people may not fall in love from 36 questions, as love is a set of complex physical, emotional, and physiological factors which cannot be so simply reduced to fixed questions, they help people connect and build affection for each other. The nature of the questions creates vulnerable answers which naturally increases trust between the participants. So, while these questions may not create love, they can be helpful as building blocks toward it.

My advice

If you and your partner, friend or first date are bored, in a rut within your relationship or just looking for a fun thing to do, give them a go! Even if it doesn’t result in deep romantic movie-like love — what harm can it do? I hope you prove the statistics wrong and are one of the lucky ones who do fall in love! 

The questions

I have included the questions below in case this article has inspired anyone to give them a go! They can also be found at https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/love-sex/relationships/a32618/36-questions-fall-in-love/, which is where I found them.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be? 

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?


25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling …”

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share …”

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Hi, I'm Jessie but most people call me Jess, apart from my grandma! I'm currently studying for a BA in History and Bristol University.